Education has certainly come a long way over the past 100 years from the one room school house to interactive classrooms. Technology has created a plethora of electronic devices to help make learning more global, interesting and fun.
At the forefront of the revolution are the steady old desktop computers. K-12 students who have a few of these computers in their classroom that are hooked up to the internet have an advantage over other students who do not have this tool. The internet can offer so much depth to what students are learning through their textbooks or via teacher lectures. Students can utilize the internet to research information, play math games and even learn multiple languages.
Another popular use of the desktop computer is to create a learning lab where students go for one of their classes at least once a week. These labs can provide individualized learning software that gives the student’s a pre-test and then determines what level and/or questions they need to learn in order to gain a mastery of that particular subject area. These types of programs are wonderful for students that perform at all levels. Today, I read that students who are in the top 1% of their class already know 80% of the information at the beginning of they year that they will be taught throughout the school year. Students in the top 5% of the class already know about 40% of the information. Obviously those students will spend a lot of time re-learning information they already know.
Individualized learning programs afford teachers and administrators the opportunity to meet students individual learning needs. This is not an easy task for classrooms of up to 30 students whose abilities might span five or more grade levels. Teachers can only do so much with the time they have in each day, and the reality is that a lot of the teacher’s time is spent helping students who don’t understand the material or are having difficulty in a particular area. There is often not time left over to allow for deepening the understanding of a learner who has already mastered a particular topic or subject area. Technology can help to fill in that gap.
In future articles I will write about other fascinating advances in the world of educational technology.